myFM: Heartburn

by Lianne Phillipson February 17, 2021

myFM: Heartburn

Burning, searing pain behind your breast bone can be more than heartburn, but it’s likely a place you’d first go. Why does the red wine and tomatoes in the rich pasta dish that you just ate give you such grief? Most think it's because of too much stomach acid. And that’s quite possible, so reaching for the antacids, Zantac or other could be appropriate. But if you’re up at night or sleeping on a mound of pillows, that acidy, hot and burning sensation could also be caused by situations likehiatal hernia, pregnancy (that’ll be obvious), overweight and obesity and of course, smoking. Other causes can be eating too close to bedtime or ingesting high-fat foods, caffeine, alcohol (often red wine, carbonated or bubbly drinks) and even chocolate. Did I just list last night’s dinner? I feel for you.

What if it’s that you don’t have enough stomach acid?

Here’s a checklist of not having enough stomach acid (also known as hydrochloric acid or HCL):

  • Pee pink when eating beets
  • Often get stomach upsets like food poisoning 
  • Bloating and gassiness
  • White spots on your fingernails 
  • Anemia or iron deficiency

Not sure if this is you? There are a few home tests that you can do to see if you are suffering with too much stomach acid or not enough.

I’ll add in a side note here that too much acid is most common if you have an infection called Helicobactor Pylori that is responsible for stomach ulcers. Of course, speak with your doctor about this for a diagnosis so you know from a medical perspective what’s going on. 

  1. My most interesting home test is to see if you pee pink after eating beets. The two must correlate because if your urine is discoloured any other time, talk to your doctor. Beets have that intense red and pink colour and if you don’t have enough stomach acid to break it down, you can pee pink. It’s an indicator that you need an enzyme that includes hydrochloric acid or HCL. 
  2. Another is if you drink a glass of dilute vinegar - some say apple cider and others say standard white vinegar - when you feel the heartburn. Adding acid seems counterintuitive I know, and you're likely thinking that I’ve totally lost it, but if you feel better after your vinegar drink, it could be a sign that you need more acid and the antacids that you chug down aren’t actually helping. 

You need adequate zinc and B6 to make stomach acid, so if you’re not making enough know that you could be low in important nutrients likeiron, calcium, and B12, because it’s needed for their absorption. Without good levels of these, a host of health issues can emerge like anemia, tiredness, weak bones and even heart disease.

Zinc rich foods include oysters or asparagus, or your B vitamin rich brown rice, but it’s a vicious circle where you’re not digesting enough to get the vitamins and minerals that you need to make the stomach acid in the first place, so try a digestive enzyme to break that cycle. Hypo Zymase is the best there is. 

People taking Zantac and other prescription meds could totally change things up if they can first deal with the deficiencies.

Here is a protocol to get started with so you know you’re on the right track:

Listen to the segment


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

sprout right newsletter